by: Antony Hampel

For diehard car enthusiasts, there’s nothing quite like getting up close and personal to a model that you’ve always dreamed about owning. It might be a Citroen DS. It could be a Porsche 918 Spyder. Or, like many longtime motoring fans, you may be lusting after a classically beautiful Aston Martin. Luckily, most big name motoring brands are pretty keen to immerse fans in the look, sound, smell, and mood evoked by their finest cars.

aston martin
Source of photo: http://luxexpose.com/aston-martin-pebble-beach-uncovered/

There are a number of ‘brand experience centres’ spread across Europe, in which visitors can admire pristine vehicles and learn a little about the history of the company. It’s the kind of thing that manufacturers have been doing for decades, so it might come as a surprise to find that Aston Martin has only just opened its first. The lavish new space is located in swanky Mayfair and it looks like no expense has been spared.

The aim is, of course, to celebrate everything Aston Martin. The building may look like an upmarket boutique at first glance, but the second gives you a peek at a gorgeous DB11. It sits in pride of place, right in the middle of the floor. And, while it is definitely the dreamboat car that will catch the eye of visitors first, it isn’t the only bit of merchandise on show. There are branded suits, T-shirts, satchels, luggage cases, handbags, and even a pram.

The idea is that Aston Martin fans will take a little time to check out all of the coolest products and commercial pieces that the company has created over the years. They are displayed in stylish surroundings, under clean flattering light, and they offer a snapshot of how the brand has developed. Walking round the shelves, you really get the sense of Aston Martin as more than just a maker of classic cars. It has become a household name; a brand that is synonymous with quality and aesthetic integrity.

Every bit of this new experience centre has been meticulously designed, from the tailor made cabinets to the Nautilus patterned floor. It represents an automotive brand at the top of its game. One that is so recognisable that it can get away with having just a single actual car on show. It remains to be seen whether Aston Martin will follow this launch with more centres throughout the UK or Europe. For the time being, Londoners can get their fill by heading down to Dover Street, in Mayfair.

by: Antony Hampel

Over the last few years, Coors Light has been accumulating some serious manly appeal with its advertisements featuring movie legend Jean Claude Van Damme. The man of the mountain has given the company a humorous new take on what it means to be ‘ice cold.’ And to cement its reputation, it has been giving beer fans a taste of the frosty life.

coors light ice cave experience dublin

Photo source: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/rave-ice-cave-coolest-bar-11209779

For a week in August, Coors Light took its legendary pop up ice cave right to the heart of Dublin city. It welcomed revellers free of charge and treated them to sets from resident DJs and fridges fully stocked with the drink of the moment. It also had plenty of thermal capes on hand to keep guests from getting too chilly.

It isn’t the first time that the company has made headlines with its ice cave. The event has popped up in a number of different locations throughout the UK and it has always been a big hit. Consumers relish the chance to do something a little bit different and Coors Light has taken this idea and run with it. It was big news in Ireland, because the country had never hosted an ice cave experience before.

It even contained a GIF wall so that visitors could record a short video of themselves and post it to a big display in the cave. As far as experiential techniques go, this is pretty clever, because footage of the event is bound to be shared online for three times as long as the party was actually in town. The ability to integrate an immersive, physical encounter with digital sharing channels is key for modern brands.

It extends the life of marketing strategies by emphasising their exclusivity. For the people who were there, social media sharing is a way to prove it. It tells friends that they were part of something special and fleeting; something that might never happen again. For those who weren’t there, it’s their only opportunity join in with the fun and see what all the fuss is about. The GIF wall in the ice cave accelerated this process by encouraging guests to share their experience while it was still ongoing.

It is likely that the Coors Light ice cave will continue its tour of Britain, stopping at big cities and delighting beer drinkers wherever it touches down. So, keep ab eye for its big, blue curves in your hometown.

by: Antony Hampel

If you find yourself in busy London this winter, keep an eye out for a very special kind of taxi. In fact, don’t sweat it; it’s pretty difficult to miss as it happens. In August, beauty brand L’Oréal decided to indulge in a little flamboyance and unleashed the FlowerBomb taxi. This bright pink cab is currently lighting up the streets of Britain and giving consumers the chance to immerse themselves in a world of fragrance.

flowerbomb-taxi

Source photo: http://www.eventmagazine.co.uk/pictures-loreal-luxe-creates-flowerbomb-taxi-promote-fragrance/brands/article/1408005

The aim is to promote its brand new Viktor and Rolf perfume. And it’s called, yes, you’ve guessed it – FlowerBomb. It isn’t a subtle marketing campaign, but it does have all of the things that fans of the brand love. It is girly, festooned with gorgeous colours, and it might just turn up in your town and take you and your mates for a spin.
For the moment, it is ferrying VIP beauty and fashion bloggers to key fragrance events around the capital. But L’Oréal has plans to take its big pink taxi on a special tour around the country so that shoppers can take a ride. The taxi itself started life as a very ordinary vehicle. It was purchased, as a former London cab and the interior was gutted and renovated.

There are more than a 1,000 fresh flowers inside the taxi, which is decorated with pink suede and leather. The idea is that it is supposed to be a visual representation of the FlowerBomb fragrance; an intense burst of nature and personality. It can’t be an accident that the driver in promotional photos has a whiff of male model about him. Well, they did say that the campaign was guaranteed to make ladies smile.

L’Oréal has been hitting all the right notes with its advertising recently. It also launched a campaign designed to support racial diversity, by showing consumers that there’s an L’Oréal foundation for everybody, no matter what their skin tone. This kind of message of inclusivity is particularly evocative right now, considering the resurgence of concerns about the future of multiculturalism in Britain.

The company has tapped into this with a simple advertisement that combines celebrity faces with honest, back to basics beauty standards. Together, with its FlowerBomb taxi, it is reminding consumers that the little things count. Gorgeous fragrances should smell like flowers. Your cosmetics should be made to suit your needs.

by: Antony Hampel

Many of us have spent a Sunday afternoon wandering round the aisles at Ikea. In fact, it has become almost like a rite of passage, especially for cohabiting couples on the hunt for contemporary style on a budget. Ikea is such an institution in Britain these days that even its meatballs are famous. You know you’re doing something right, as a business, when you can successfully combine flat pack furniture and Scandinavian snacks.

The company is never content to rest on its laurels for too long though and it has spent the last few weeks giving the movers and shakers of Shoreditch a bit of a treat. From September 10-25th, Ikea set up its very own ‘DIY’ restaurant in the heart of London. It served breakfast, lunch, and dinner and, yes, there were meatballs. There was also a twist. When Ikea say ‘DIY,’ they really mean it.

ikea-dining
Source photo: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea/campaigns/the-dining-club/

Diners were provided with a fully stocked kitchen, the finest ingredients, and a friendly sous chef for advice, but they had to cook their own meal. The idea was to bring people together, in a homely environment, and get them involved with their food. This meant getting stuck in, with pots, pans, plates, and a generous of culinary panache. It was an intimate affair too, with only 38 places up for grabs, so DIY or not, this was a special opportunity.

The Ikea Dining Club welcomed these guests free of charge as a bit of fun and frivolous marketing exercise. And, it worked too, because the company made clever choices about its location and audience. Shoreditch is quite a trendy part of London, full of millennials who do have a genuine interest in getting back to basics and learning about food in an exciting way. These are also the type of consumers that tend to identify with the Ikea brand and values.

The Dining Club was only a temporary project and it has been packed away now, but after the success of the venture, it is likely that Ikea will try its hand at more pop up experiences. So, Scandi-furniture fans should keep an eye out for that telltale hint of yellow in their neighbourhood. Let’s be honest, cooking dinner for the Queen is probably easier than putting together a flat pack wardrobe, so there’s nothing to worry about.

by: Antony Hampel

New York Fashion Week is one of the biggest events in the world for designers, models, and retailers. It comes around once every year and, each time, it seems to be louder, bolder, and more surprising then the last. While many of the most prestigious catwalk events are invite only, there are plenty of other exciting exhibitions and performances that are open to the general public.

This September, digital lifestyle brand Refinery29 celebrated NY Fashion Week in its own special way, by hosting a multisensory experience for fans. The sprawling exhibition covered 50,000 square feet of warehouse space in Brooklyn. This included 29 individual displays, all containing something visual, musical, or interactive. It was aptly called 29Rooms and it was a huge hit with both fashion fans and industry figures.

lifestyle-company-refinery29

The expansive experience brought together scores of promising stars from the worlds of fashion, art, design, food, beauty, cinema and more. The overarching theme of the exhibition, this year, was to get visitors engaging with some of the most pressing issues facing western society right now. From gender equality to modern politics, unfair beauty standards, and the cultural role of fashion; 29Rooms didn’t shy away from the big questions.

Yet, it wasn’t just NY Fashion Week that inspired the popular lifestyle company to create something extra special. 2016 saw its tenth birthday and executive director, Piera Gelardi, was keen to show the world that there’s a lot more creativity and innovation yet to come. So, after chancing upon an amazing location – with the perfect amount of rooms, – he knew that the event had to be immersive and unforgettable.

The exhibition space included interactive pieces like ‘1,000 Questions,’ which invited guests to write about themselves on the walls. There was a pop up movie theatre screening short films from a host of promising new female directors. The piece de resistance was a colourful bouncy castle, in the shape of a handbag, complete with inflatable lipsticks and a cellphone. Ultimately, 29Rooms encouraged fashion fans to realise that it doesn’t just stop at pretty clothes and glossy magazines.

Fashion is what you eat, what you smell like, where you like to spend time, and who you want to be as a human being. Fashion is universal, but it is also deeply personal. It represents the version of ‘you’ that you’re trying to send out into the world.

by: Antony Hampel

It is probably not much of a surprise to find out that a huge proportion of Brits aren’t drinking enough water on a day to day basis. This has long been a challenge for both young and older people, because well, there’s just so many other options to choose from. Little ones are opting for brightly coloured – but sugar filled – juice pops and the grownups are committing even bigger sins by supping on enamel staining coffees and corrosive energy drinks.

fruit juice brand robinsons

According to a recent survey carried out by fruit drink brand Robinsons, a whopping 70% of Britons regularly go seven hours or more without a glass of clean, fresh water. This can wreak havoc on the body. It dries out the skin, forces the muscles to work harder, increases the likelihood of migraines, and causes constipation (yes, really). So, the company is now on a mission to educate the nation about the importance of staying hydrated.

And, it is keen to point out that there is a quick and easy way to jazz up the clear stuff if you tend to find water a bit boring. Robinsons spent January of this year touring the country with its extra juicy cordials and new Squashd double concentrate packs. It invaded a thousand British workplaces, with samples on hand, to show people how easy it is to water up, even if you’re stuck behind your desk.

The ‘Enjoy Drinking More Water’ campaign also invites fans of the brand to tweet #EnjoyMoreWater for the chance to win a special ‘smiley’ glass. The Squashd squeezable pod is the newest product in the Robinsons line and it is designed to make drinking water on the go much easier. It is a small, round container that fits in the pocket and can be squeezed for a burst of juicy flavour whenever needed. All consumers have to do is find themselves a glass of the good stuff.

Thus far, the campaign has been an effective one, because the company behind the brand has taken something that can often feel like a chore and made it simpler. By reminding consumers of the health risks of not drinking enough water, it has also inextricably linked its brand with the underlying idea that this is not a choice. They need these products and they need them right now.

by: Antony Hampel

In many ways, sport is the ideal catalyst for virtual reality (VR) technologies. It is the perfect way to show off exactly what a ground breaking new VR device can do, because it involves not just movement, but very precise movement. Think about it. Playing rugby or football in virtual reality is dynamic and fast paced, but it also needs to be controllable.

samsung galaxy

Image Source: www.express.co.uk

These two qualities are what VR makers are trying to prove their technology can offer. It is what Samsung is keen to convince its users of; that is why the company held a unique ‘VR’ rugby event on the 12th of March.

The ‘School of Rugby’ event was launched to coincide with the big England V Wales match. It was held at Twickenham Stadium and gave sports fans, young and old, the chance to grab a VR headset and see what all the fuss is about. This is really important not just for the brand, but also for virtual reality technology in general.

It is still a very new and emerging industry, so not many people have had a chance to experience it, even though the media is constantly talking about it. By bringing VR to the fans, Samsung is getting its foot in the door early and cementing its reputation as a brand known for providing accessible tech.

The Six Nations ‘Rugby School’ campaign saw visitors step inside a special pop up VR studio. They were given Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Gear VR headsets and challenged to take on rugby stars, Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio.

For a handful of lucky fans, the experience got even better. Dallaglio and Johnson actually surprised some of the players by turning up, in person, while they were using the VR headsets. So, they went straight from playing a virtual game of rugby with the two to shaking hands with them for real.

Once again, this was a really clever move from Samsung, because it underscored the ethos and the aim of the technology. For most people, meeting their favourite rugby stars in person will only ever be a dream. However, with Samsung VR headsets, they can have the next best thing. You can slip on a headset, start a game, and be chatting with your heroes in no time.

The event was a big success for Samsung and it gave fans a real sense of what VR technology can do. This is important, because it is on its way to the commercial market at a rapid rate. In fact, it is already available. The hope is that, in a couple of years, it will become affordable enough for lots of families to have a VR headset in their home.

by: Antony Hampel, Event Planner of Alive Events Agency

by: Antony Hampel

In March, ‘bucket list’ dream-makers, Forward Motion, threw the event of the year. You might not have heard about it, but you’ll wish you could have been there all the same. The event, held over two days, combined one of the most popular adult pleasures with one of the most exhilarating childhood activities.

Bucket-List-Company-forward-Motion-Ball-Pit-Photo

The unique ‘ball pool pit bar’ was held at San Francisco venue, Romper Room, and it featured a whopping 40,000 plastic balls. Lucky ticket holders were invited to enjoy their favourite tipples, while ducking, diving, and swimming in an oversized ball pit.

It is just one of a series of regression type events to have swept both the UK and the US in recent years. And with millennials now waiting longer to have kids, buy their first homes, and tie the knot, perhaps it not so surprising. Then again, who wouldn’t relish the chance to enjoy a cocktail and a ball pit fight with friends?

The Romper Room event was dreamed up by Forward Motion founder Ryan Lum. According to Lum, the hardest part of making it happen was actually getting hold of enough plastic balls. After a number of unsuccessful crowdfunding events, he decided to start selling tickets and pray that enough money would be made to allow the ball pit to materialise.

It took longer than expected to raise the cash, but the event sold out. And, it was such a massive hit with attendees that a second is being planned for this month. Once again, tickets are in high demand, so anybody interested in getting in touch with their childish side should think about picking some up soon.

From the sounds of it, the inaugural ball pit bar was the start of big things. Lum describes his delight at seeing people turn up in all kinds of fancy dress. He points out that everybody left with huge smiles on their faces and a flurry of questions about how soon they could get back in to the pit. There were games of limbo, a spontaneous conga line, a group karaoke session, and some fiercely funny ball pit fights.

In a world where growing up has become something to avoid, it makes sense that this kind of event would resonate so deeply with people. There is surely a lesson to be learned here for companies trying to tap in to the ‘millennial’ market. Make it big, make it bold, and don’t be afraid to look silly while you’re doing it.

by: Antony Hampel, Event Planner of Alive Events Agency

by: Antony Hampel

Just last month, popular pasty purveyor, Greggs, did something rather unusual to celebrate its new coffee range. Anybody who wandered down to Potter’s Field, in London, on the 8th of March, might have spotted a prominent change. There were a series of giant coffee cups resting just by Tower Bridge!

Greggs Sip and Nap in Coffee Sleep Pods

They were a part of the Greggs campaign to promote the launch of its extended coffee range. In the past, the chain has only offered a few very basic combinations of hot drink, but now it plans to branch out and give the people what they want – cappuccinos for everybody.

The giant coffee cups ‘or nappccinos,’ were actually miniature beds. Tired shoppers and commuters were invited down to the event to grab a 20 minute power nap and a free cappuccino. The coffee pods were kitted out with soft blankets, pillows, mood lighting, and even a choice of relaxing tunes.

It looks like Greggs really knows its market, because if there’s one thing commuters in London would like more of, it’s time in bed. For a long while, research on the relationship between coffee and alertness has been a bit confusing. Around 57% of the population relies on coffee, in the morning, to wake up, but science says that this doesn’t work.

According to researchers, getting up early and downing a flat white won’t make you more alert. However, they did discover a rather interesting link between coffee and napping. If you drink a strong coffee and then have a 20 minute power nap, you will feel more awake. This is exactly what the giant nappccinos were trying to prove to the general public.

As a promotional event, it was certainly eye catching. It was hard to miss the Greggs coffee pods, so they got a lot of attention from Londoners. The concept worked because it was as much practical as it was frivolous. Yeah, it was a little silly putting commuters to sleep, in public, by the Thames, but it also offered them a bit of insight into their daily routine.

Whether or not this insight will be brought into the actual bedrooms of coffee drinkers remains to be seen, as does the amount of interest that the stunt has stirred up for the new Greggs range. However, the company showed that it knows how to put on a marketing event which turns heads, without being overly flashy or off putting.

by: Antony Hampel, Event Manager of Alive Events Agency

Written by: Antony Hampel

The popular cognac brand, Hennessy, launched a fully interactive, sensory tasting event last month. The aim was to change how drinkers in the UK view this type of brandy. Traditionally, cognac has always been drunk as an after dinner treat, in restaurants and domestic parlours.

hennessy immersive cognac tasting event

Image source: www.rollingout.com

It is considered, by many people, to be quite a posh tipple. It is a drink that comes out on special occasions and is shared with friends and dinner party guests. However, Hennessy wants to change all of that. Its March 23rd tasting event celebrated the diverse and rich flavours of cognac, by giving visitors a sensory tour through its various facets.

LVMH, the company that owns Hennessy, set up an infinity style hall of mirrors, with an exciting experience dedicated to each of the seven ‘notes’ found in new drink Hennessy X.O Odyssey. The event was held at its headquarters, in London, and was accompanied by an artistic short by acclaimed movie director Nicholas Winding Refn.

The drinks maker is keen to get shoppers experimenting with cognac in new and unconventional ways. According to a brand leader for Hennessy, the tipple is still thought of as just an after dinner drink. However, its intricate notes and delicate flavours make it a promising choice for things like cocktails and mixers too.

The sensory tasting event kept visitors busy for over an hour and encouraged them to sample the ‘sweet notes,’ ‘spicy edges,’ and ‘wood crunches’ found in the drink. It was dreamt up in cooperation with event management experts, Polar Black Events. Overall, ‘The Odyssey Experience,’ was a huge success, because it not only introduced cognac fans to a brand new side of the drink, it also activated Hennessy X.O Odyssey.

The aged cognac is being marketed as a brandy for people who have, in the past, shied away from the drink due to its appeal as a digestif. With the enduring popularity of cocktails and spirits among younger drinkers, it is certainly no surprise that Hennessy wants to create a hipper, fresher brand image.

Whether or not it can bring the drink and the new Hennessy X.O Odyssey firmly into the 21st century remains to be seen. The immersive sensory event was a great place to start though, because it put a smile on the faces of visitors and opened up a whole new world of possibilities for Hennessy cognac.